BioMapper is a kit of GIS- and statistical tools designed to build habitat suitability (HS) and maps. It is centred on the Ecological Niche Factor Analysis (ENFA), which allows computing HS models without the need of absence data.
More precisely, it performs the following tasks:
  • Preparing the ecogeographical maps in order to use them as input for the ENFA (e.g. computing frequency of occurrence map, standardisation, masking, etc.)
  • Exploring and comparing them by mean of descriptive statistics (distribution analysis, etc.)
  • Visualising them in 2D or 3D
  • Computing the Ecological Niche Factor Analysis and exploring its output
  • Computing a Habitat suitability map
  • Evaluating its prediction accuracy by means of cross-validation
BioMapper is designed to be stand-alone but as it uses the same files format as the GIS software Idrisi, they can transparently work in conjunction.
Please be sure to read the Rules of use before to work with BioMapper.

BioMapper at first glance

When you open it, BioMapper is composed of two parts: on the left you have a column with two compartments entitled ecogeographical maps and Workmaps. The first compartment will contain the environmental predictors used to build the model. The workmap compartment will mainly contain maps resulting from your BioMapper’s computations, but this is also here that you must place the map with the species observations. You may actually place here any map you want often to access.
On the right part you have the result window. In this window will be logged all your operations, along with their results. This window is part of the project and allows you to trace back what you have done. It is stored in file with the same name as your project, but with a “.log” extension. This file is actually an RTF file, which you can import into any word-processor. This window is fully editable to help you to keep track of your investigations. But this window is also “active”. Whenever your mouse cursor hovers above a map filename, it will take the shape of pointing hand. By double-clicking it, you can open a visual display of the map. A right-click will pop-up a menu with several operations you can do on the map.
In the status bar (the bar at the foot of the BioMapper window) you will get various information, including short help message about the command or menu your mouse cursor is hovering over.
Finally, the menu bar is organised so as to present the operation in chronological order. As you progress with your analysis, you are going to use modules presented in menu from left to right. When a special window is active (a graph, a map, etc.), new menus may appear in this bar, proposing special operations.
By clicking the F1 key will display the help file, sometimes at the page corresponding to the process you are about to launch.



  • Hirzel, A. H., G. Le Lay, V. Helfer, C. Randin, and A. Guisan. 2006. Evaluating the ability of habitat suitability models to predict species presences. Ecological Modelling 199:142-152.
  • Hirzel, A.H. & Arlettaz, R. (2003) Environmental-envelope based habitat-suitability models. In 1st Conference on Resource Selection by Animals (ed B.F.J. Manly). Omnipress, Laramie, USA.
  • Hirzel, A.H. & Arlettaz, R. (2003) Modelling habitat suitability for complex species distributions by the environmental-distance geometric mean. Environmental Management, 32, 614-623.
  • Hirzel A.H., Hausser J., Chessel D. & Perrin N. (2002) Ecological-niche factor analysis: How to compute habitat- suitability maps without absence data? Ecology, 83, 2027-2036.
  • Hirzel, A.H., Helfer, V., Métral, F., 2001. Assessing habitat-suitability models with a virtual species. Ecological Modelling. 145, 111-121.